Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tensions Rise Between Malaysian Muslims and Christians

8/22/11 Malaysia (Asian Correspondent) - Tensions between the Muslim and Christian communities in Malaysia are rising after a Malay doctor facing marital problems is reported to have rejected sending his children to Muslim organisations for care. The man is said to have preferred to seek childcare from a church in Petaling Jaya, a suburb ofKuala Lumpur, instead.
A Malay-language tabloid reported that an official from the Selangor state Islamic Affairs department (JAIS) had claimed that the Malay doctor had committed an offence that could lead to a prison sentence of up to three years, a fine of not more than RM5,000 (US$1,700), or both.
The country’s population is 60% Muslim, which comprise mainly of Malay ethnics. The Federal Constitution upholds the freedom of religion of other faiths under Article 11, but it disallows them from proletysing to Muslims.
In recent weeks, allegations of Christians proletysing to the Muslim community have increased tensions between the two faiths, following a church raid conducted by JAIS during a thanksgiving dinner held at the church premises on Aug 3.
JAIS had claimed that it had the right to conduct a raid on the church, following a complaint received that the church had attempted to convert the 12 Muslims that attended the dinner.
Subsequently, a witchhunt on Christians attempting to convert Muslims, as well as Malay Muslims believed to have converted to Christianity, is said to be more rampant as well.
Political analysts say while the recent church raid is not likely to initiate winds of change in votes among the Christians in East Malaysia, heightened religious tension does not sit well with Najib who is expected to call for general elections by the first quarter of 2012(Source).

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